Bishan Bedi September 23, 2010

Graceful and gracious

Bishan Bedi's talent was vast and he had the heart to match. The beauty of his action was bewitching and he had the cruelty to go with it
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Some years ago, while recuperating after surgery, I had a chance to put to the test HG Wells' dictum that the mind is the natural habitat of man. I was in intensive care and there were no books or television. To relax I had to travel inwards. And the image that helped was the poetry of Bishan Bedi's bowling.

I could see in my mind's eye the easy run-up, the fluid action, the follow-through, and the half-jump that confirmed to the batsman that he had been had. I marvelled at the contrast between the gentle curve of the ball in the air and its vicious pace off the wicket. The rainbow makes a beautiful arc, but it is predictable. Bedi's arc was pleasing and as a bonus its effect was unpredictable.

Bedi, the only Indian with over 1500 first-class wickets, claimed 266 wickets from 67 Tests. It is necessary to descend to figures when discussing an artiste like Bedi only because, in sport, beauty without cruelty is a silly notion favoured by those long in the tooth and short in memory. Every generation produces a great player who does not please the eye (Allan Border is a good example), but there is no great player who does not have the figures to show for it.

I once saw Bedi leave a batsman stranded down the wicket when the ball went the wrong way after it had seemed set to come in with the arm. Bedi was 53 years old then, and made no secret of his enjoyment at having fooled the batsman. This enjoyment was a big part of his game. "I dismissed Ian Chappell on 99 in a Test with just such a delivery," he recalled, demonstrating how he had held the ball in his palm and slid his wrist under it.

Like Wilfred Rhodes, he "dismissed the batsman even before the ball had pitched", thanks to the ability to apparently yank it back at the last moment

Bedi had the full repertoire of the finger-spinner, and must rate as one of the two or three finest bowlers of his type the game has seen. Like Wilfred Rhodes, he "dismissed the batsman even before the ball had pitched" (Cardus' words), thanks to the ability to apparently yank it back at the last moment. Unlike Hedley Verity and Derek Underwood, who both bowled much faster, Bedi didn't rely on the pitch for his wickets.

He was the most generous of bowlers and wore his stature lightly. This generosity extended to the opposition too. Bedi believes in the brotherhood of spinners, and all of them have access to his experience and wisdom. All they have to do is ask. On a turning track in Bangalore in 1986-87, a low-scoring match ended in Pakistan's favour by 16 runs after left-arm spinner Iqbal Qasim was handed this gem from Bedi: "On a turner the most dangerous ball is the one that goes through straight."

Against Tony Lewis' Englishmen in 1972-73, Bedi claimed 25 wickets to BS Chandrasekhar's 35, as the spinners harassed the batsmen. Bedi was often brought on in the third over, and had the batsmen in trouble from the start. It was a measure of both his confidence and his generosity that he found time to bowl to Dennis Amiss in the nets to help him sort out his problems.

You have to go back nine decades or so, to Australian leggie Arthur Mailey, to find a kindred soul. Mailey took flak for helping out opponents. Extravagantly talented, both he and Bedi bowled with the lavishness of millionaires. Bedi's credo was first spelt out by Mailey, who said, "I'd rather spin and see the ball hit for four than bowl a batsman out by a straight one." On another occasion Mailey said: "If I ever bowl a maiden over, it's not my fault but the batsman's." It is a sentiment Bedi would understand. Despite one-day cricket, he refused to bring his art down from the classical heights into the sphere of everyday utility. This refusal to compromise has been the hallmark of Bedi the player, the man, the administrator, coach and columnist.

Most people are publicly modest but privately quite immodest about their achievements. In Bedi's case, it is the reverse. In a letter to me, he wrote: "How I played my first Test is still an unsolved mystery. That I went on to captain the country is even more mind-boggling. Cricket is a funny game - always throwing up surprise packets." Few graceful performers are that gracious.

Suresh Menon is a writer based in Bangalore. This article was first published in Wisden Asia Cricket magazine in 2002

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • sukuviju on September 25, 2010, 3:46 GMT

    I remember watching Bedi towards the fag end of his career when he had a miserable series in Pakistan in 1978, The selectors were nice enough to give him another opportunity in the next series and thereafter he was replaced by Dilip Doshi who performed extremely well for the next 3 years. Bedi has been a bitter man ever since he was dropped from the Indian team but the world knows that Doshi at that time was a better spinner. Bedi's bowling action could be like poetry, very much like the bowling action of Holding but Holding had figures to match unlike Bedi. Let us stop fooling ourselves, Bedi was a good bowler but he is no legand.

  • MiddleStump on September 25, 2010, 3:24 GMT

    @Dr Dhami: Entirely agree. As a spinner, Bedi was par excellence. I suspect most people making comments come from two major categories. Either they are too young to have watched him bowl or they judge his bowling from his brash comments. Some people think that Bedi would be clobbered today. Well his economy rate of 2.1 is excellent and he bowled to Sobers, Lloyd, Richards, Ian Chappel, and Walters to name a few - some of the finest players of spin in the game's history. No doubt about it, Murali had a controversial action according to many and his 800 wickets will always have that asterisk attached to his records. Unfortunately Bedi also has a knack of putting his foot in his mouth off the field. Which explains his overall unpopularity.

  • Jim1207 on September 25, 2010, 0:40 GMT

    @wolf777: How do you know that the helicopter is having Stanford inside or any other similar criminal? I would rather expect someone to identify Gavaskar by his face or by inquiring any intelligent person nearby than to identify Stanford sitting inside a closed chopper!

  • RajChellappan on September 24, 2010, 17:50 GMT

    Though in my mid-30s, I haven't see much of Bedi's bowling. Suresh brings out the beauty of his cricket, his cricketing brain and heart very well. Was a precious view into the works of an artist. Bedi as a critic has always been honest - he has always spoken what he believed in consistently. Public can say they don't agree with his point of view, but cannot call him dishonest ever.

  • waspsting on September 24, 2010, 17:44 GMT

    very amusing comments! I agree - calling Bedi gracious is like calling Sehwag defensive. He's full of nasty cracks at all kinds of people, for apparently no good reason. as far as his bowling goes - i never saw it, heard it was beautiful and artistic, but i've always had faith in stats. A work of art with a strike rate of 80 (whilst bowling on spin friendly tracks half the time) - probably isn't great. Especially when his spinner teamates were doing so much better.

  • pubudu on September 24, 2010, 17:12 GMT

    if Bedi to take 800 wckets he will still be bowling. with his dismal strike rate no wonder India hardly won any matches those days. Bedi wouldn't have even got in to current Indian team if he palyd in this era.

  • Dr.Dhami on September 24, 2010, 14:56 GMT

    It is very sad to see comments on Bedi's off-the-field life and utterances. Menon decided on focus on Bedi the cricketer: a focus that seems to have been lost on so many readers who have commented adversely. For those whose cognitive abilities have lead them to beleive to the contrary: THIS IS NOT AN ARTICLE ABOUT MURALI OR WHAT ANYONE SAID ABOUT HIM. Menon is spot on about Bedi's lovely action (one of the best ever) and his "cricketing" record.

  • Legionnaire on September 24, 2010, 14:09 GMT

    Bishan Singh Bedi as a person might be vindictive and bitter, however to doubt his credentials as a bowler would be silly. Does that mean the top batsmen who were dismissed by Bedi were not good enough? To say that he took only 266 wickets and Murali took 800 wickets and therefore Bedi is an ordinary bowler would only be termed as foolish. Yes, Murali was very talented, however one can also say a lot of his wickets are cheap wickets, and Sri Lanka had a one bowler attack, with him doing bulk of bowling meaning more opportunities for him to take wickets. Bedi was part of spin quartet where wickets were shared. No doubt Murali was a great bowler, but so is Bedi, his crticism of Murali is his own personal bias, one may not respect Bedi as a person but he undoubtedly deserves respect as a cricketer.

  • on September 24, 2010, 13:52 GMT

    Suresh Menon is really stretching the bounds of credibility by calling Bedi "gracious". Bedi's spiteful and constant maligning of Murali has made him look like little more than a bitter and jealous has-been. Whence the grace?

  • saraschandra on September 24, 2010, 13:04 GMT

    this is such nonsense..... absolutely useless cricketer, arrogant and mediocre...... he's a waste of writing space.....

  • sukuviju on September 25, 2010, 3:46 GMT

    I remember watching Bedi towards the fag end of his career when he had a miserable series in Pakistan in 1978, The selectors were nice enough to give him another opportunity in the next series and thereafter he was replaced by Dilip Doshi who performed extremely well for the next 3 years. Bedi has been a bitter man ever since he was dropped from the Indian team but the world knows that Doshi at that time was a better spinner. Bedi's bowling action could be like poetry, very much like the bowling action of Holding but Holding had figures to match unlike Bedi. Let us stop fooling ourselves, Bedi was a good bowler but he is no legand.

  • MiddleStump on September 25, 2010, 3:24 GMT

    @Dr Dhami: Entirely agree. As a spinner, Bedi was par excellence. I suspect most people making comments come from two major categories. Either they are too young to have watched him bowl or they judge his bowling from his brash comments. Some people think that Bedi would be clobbered today. Well his economy rate of 2.1 is excellent and he bowled to Sobers, Lloyd, Richards, Ian Chappel, and Walters to name a few - some of the finest players of spin in the game's history. No doubt about it, Murali had a controversial action according to many and his 800 wickets will always have that asterisk attached to his records. Unfortunately Bedi also has a knack of putting his foot in his mouth off the field. Which explains his overall unpopularity.

  • Jim1207 on September 25, 2010, 0:40 GMT

    @wolf777: How do you know that the helicopter is having Stanford inside or any other similar criminal? I would rather expect someone to identify Gavaskar by his face or by inquiring any intelligent person nearby than to identify Stanford sitting inside a closed chopper!

  • RajChellappan on September 24, 2010, 17:50 GMT

    Though in my mid-30s, I haven't see much of Bedi's bowling. Suresh brings out the beauty of his cricket, his cricketing brain and heart very well. Was a precious view into the works of an artist. Bedi as a critic has always been honest - he has always spoken what he believed in consistently. Public can say they don't agree with his point of view, but cannot call him dishonest ever.

  • waspsting on September 24, 2010, 17:44 GMT

    very amusing comments! I agree - calling Bedi gracious is like calling Sehwag defensive. He's full of nasty cracks at all kinds of people, for apparently no good reason. as far as his bowling goes - i never saw it, heard it was beautiful and artistic, but i've always had faith in stats. A work of art with a strike rate of 80 (whilst bowling on spin friendly tracks half the time) - probably isn't great. Especially when his spinner teamates were doing so much better.

  • pubudu on September 24, 2010, 17:12 GMT

    if Bedi to take 800 wckets he will still be bowling. with his dismal strike rate no wonder India hardly won any matches those days. Bedi wouldn't have even got in to current Indian team if he palyd in this era.

  • Dr.Dhami on September 24, 2010, 14:56 GMT

    It is very sad to see comments on Bedi's off-the-field life and utterances. Menon decided on focus on Bedi the cricketer: a focus that seems to have been lost on so many readers who have commented adversely. For those whose cognitive abilities have lead them to beleive to the contrary: THIS IS NOT AN ARTICLE ABOUT MURALI OR WHAT ANYONE SAID ABOUT HIM. Menon is spot on about Bedi's lovely action (one of the best ever) and his "cricketing" record.

  • Legionnaire on September 24, 2010, 14:09 GMT

    Bishan Singh Bedi as a person might be vindictive and bitter, however to doubt his credentials as a bowler would be silly. Does that mean the top batsmen who were dismissed by Bedi were not good enough? To say that he took only 266 wickets and Murali took 800 wickets and therefore Bedi is an ordinary bowler would only be termed as foolish. Yes, Murali was very talented, however one can also say a lot of his wickets are cheap wickets, and Sri Lanka had a one bowler attack, with him doing bulk of bowling meaning more opportunities for him to take wickets. Bedi was part of spin quartet where wickets were shared. No doubt Murali was a great bowler, but so is Bedi, his crticism of Murali is his own personal bias, one may not respect Bedi as a person but he undoubtedly deserves respect as a cricketer.

  • on September 24, 2010, 13:52 GMT

    Suresh Menon is really stretching the bounds of credibility by calling Bedi "gracious". Bedi's spiteful and constant maligning of Murali has made him look like little more than a bitter and jealous has-been. Whence the grace?

  • saraschandra on September 24, 2010, 13:04 GMT

    this is such nonsense..... absolutely useless cricketer, arrogant and mediocre...... he's a waste of writing space.....

  • Charindra on September 24, 2010, 6:55 GMT

    Here's how I see it. Bedi was quite possibly the spinner who had the loveliest action ever. But as we all know, a lovely action doesn't make you great. With all the flight he put on the ball, if he played these days Sachin, Lara, Sehwag, Laxman, Jayasuriya etc would have hammered him out of the park, especially considering how much more agressively batsmen play now than in that generation. And him insulting Murali, the greatest of all spinners will always remain a huge black mark on his character.

  • TMS8137 on September 24, 2010, 3:50 GMT

    A great bowler from all that i have heard. He was no doubt courageous, extremely forthright in his commentary on cricket after his time to the extent of being caustic in his remarks. He assumed murali to be a chucker. The ICC did alter this view after extensive video analysis of a lot of bowlers and found that even people like mcgrath and pollock bent their arms in delivery. The problem with being forthright though is that you can seldom be gracious.

  • StefanAbeysekera on September 24, 2010, 2:51 GMT

    Bedi once said getting a wicket was like having an orgasm. So - Bedi 266 wickets at 28.71. Murali - 800 at 22.72. And no one has ever produced a scientific shred of information that Murali throws. Could be the good old green eyed monster, Bishen...

  • ToTellUTheTruth on September 24, 2010, 2:24 GMT

    Why in the world is any one dares to compare a plain, certified chucker with the swan of spin bowling?

    Murali is a chucker-extraordinaire!!! Let's leave it there. If not for Dalimiya and other power brokers, it would have been eradicated in the bud. Oh well. Life goes on I guess. Just for few votes, BCCI has to bend the rules they way they want to. Let them be.

    Bedi!!! The only thing I remember is how he foxed Kim Hughes, when India were touring Aus. First ball flighted and Hughes hits a six. Second ball same length and same line, same flight, but the ball went the other way and clean bowled Hughes. Beauty and artistry at their best.

    Please, do not even dare to compare a cheat to a real GEM.

  • on September 24, 2010, 1:39 GMT

    I wasnt born when he was playing. however I have followed cricket pretty closely over the last 20 years on the field and off. While watching videos, I agree that he was graceful, but atleast off the field he is anything but gracious. He is arrogant and makes wild comments just to be in the news.

  • GoSL on September 24, 2010, 0:43 GMT

    YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING ME.....?!?

  • smalishah84 on September 23, 2010, 23:46 GMT

    @SumitSahai...."To give Mr.Menon the benefit of doubt, I'd blame his post-op ymedications.".......LOL.....quite funny really....I was thinking along the same lingules. And Mr Menon as much as I usually like and agree with your articles I can't help but disagree on this one. Bedi has hardly ever been gracious.......take the cases of Tendulkar, Gavaskar, Ganguly, Harbhajan, Miurali (so many times), Imran Khan etc etc.....the list just goes on and on. His attention seeking behavior is quite outrageous really......@JigneshPatel007......"Now if you think Imaran Khan was the great bowler, then Murali also was the great bowler.."......how you end up comparing Murali and Imran Khan is beyond me? One is a spinner and the other is a fast bowler. And what are you trying to suggest that Imran Khan was only great because of ball tampering??? And that if somebody thinks Imran Khan is not great then he should think that Murali is not great either????? Dude you sound like Bedi himeslf....

  • wolf777 on September 23, 2010, 22:36 GMT

    To Jim1207: Alan Stanford probably had a permission to land his chopper; Gavasker didn't. I am sure Gavasker had a valid entry into the ground; however, how do you know the person pretending to be Gavasker is in fact him. Most of us have only seen him from the distance or on the TV. He should not have such a big deal of someone asking for his ID.

  • Acting_Career on September 23, 2010, 20:27 GMT

    I was in high school when BS Bedi's &team played 3 tests ODIs in Pakistan. Until then Cricket was a game of elites, educated masses and cricketers. However, Indian tour really started cricket frenzy in the country. Even Rickshaw drivers and beggars were listening live commentary on their portable radios. Although much hyped Indo spin musketeers could not cast their magic spell on Pakistani pitches mainly due to some dazzling batting performance from maestro Zaheer Abbas and hard pitches, the Bedi and company were able crate new fans. Bedi became an Icon in Pak especially in Punjab where you could see kids emulating the gentle action of Bedi on the streets corner and in parks. Unfortunately, that unsuccessful tour killed Bedi's career because losing cricket was like losing Kashmir between these two countries. No one in India ever recognized the astounding achievement of Bedi and et. al for winning the hearts of minds of Pakistanis who still felt a lot of odium toward India

  • Jaggadaaku on September 23, 2010, 19:38 GMT

    Guys, this article is not about comparing Murali an Bedi. But if you start comparing them then let me tell you, Murali's bowling action was controversial. Have you seen when he leaves the ball from his hand, it always looks like he is throwing the ball. I know he captured many many wickets, and no-bowler will be getting that number of wicket in that number of matches. Imran Khan was breaking the balls grip with his finger nails and swing the ball and was getting wickets easily. He already mentioned that in his book. Now if you think Imaran Khan was the great bowler, then Murali also was the great bowler.

  • ElectronSmoke on September 23, 2010, 19:11 GMT

    Bishan Bedi was one of the finest spinners to play test cricket - and definitely possessed an beautiful, artistic action. People who've never seen him play can harp on without knowledge. No debate that Kumble is our biggest matchwinner, Chandra was the most unplayable of the quartet - similarly Bedi was indeed the most pleasing to eye, and generous with advice. In the same vein - he has been peevish, and loudmouthed post retirement - often crossing the line between being honest ( like he is about Sehwag being a better spinner than Bhajjie) to plain jealous ( like about Murali). That said, Murali's action does look like a chuck to the naked eye, and under existing laws at the time - it was correct to call him for that. It's the greatness of the man, the bowler, his strength of mind that he came out cleaner and stronger - Bedi's continued attack on him is stupid, just as stupid are the attempts of Murali fans to put one over Indians ...let's keep personal bias out of this.

  • cricinme on September 23, 2010, 17:43 GMT

    Bedi might have been one of Indias great spinners but i dont agree with your saying he had a big heart. His big mouth has spoiled his reputation. He was a disaster as a coach who refused to take responsibility for Indias disastrous tour of 1985 when he was a coach and went on to say that the whole team should be thrown in the pacific. You dont call this man with a big heart. He disgraced Murali for his achievements probably because of a jealous heart.

  • Jim1207 on September 23, 2010, 17:11 GMT

    First of all, I don't know why the word Gracious is in the title. It's too polite a word for him! @wolf777: When Stanford can land his private heli in the home of Cricket, Gavaskar with all his records can be allowed without any ID. Rules are Rules, someone did his job well, I agree, but the world is not ideal always and does not play equal to everyone. In My Opinion, allowing access to a ground to a great Cricketer is not a problem, with or without ID. And, sorry to spoil the party of Since7: FYI, Sachin last year fought with linguistic establishments, who can easily do any damage to the lives of his dear Family and whole India fought with him to shut up the extremists, even though they might look for vengeance few years down the lane. Was he diplomatic, playing safe, being silent and toy-toying with power? I wonder you do not know much about him. If you speak having Sydney in mind, it just means that you think from only one perspective which was a disgrace on the Cricket field.

  • vinpat on September 23, 2010, 16:48 GMT

    Bedi is a petty and jealous idiot who is a legend in his own mind. He played for India when our team was pathetic. He has never ever acknowledged the contributions made by great players who came after him like Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh.

  • AZY99 on September 23, 2010, 16:11 GMT

    Hmm... interesting! Cant be compared to Murali though.An uptight jealous fellow, who thinks he is some spin wizard, and everyone else gives a dung of what he says. Sorry mate, Murali is much better by that i mean miles. So dont think Bedi has a right to voice out his opinion towards Wisdens best bowler of all time. He just cant, he's not in that league. Sorry Indians but i just had to say that!!

  • on September 23, 2010, 15:29 GMT

    Agreed.Bishan Bedi was one of the All Time Great bowler.May God Bless him with good health. dr.shrikant.desai. sihor.Gujarat.India.

  • Naresh2 on September 23, 2010, 15:28 GMT

    " how he had held the ball in his palm and slid his wrist under it"

    so did he chuck that one then?

  • New_Wind on September 23, 2010, 15:19 GMT

    Is this article to appeace Bedi after getting zero votes for AT XI by the jury of which an author was also a part?

  • barwala_vasi on September 23, 2010, 14:35 GMT

    Bedi was a brilliant bowler. One of the best if not the best this country ever produced. Murli the bowler is/was a very controversial figure so Bedi is not alone in saying that. I blame ICC for being a toothless organization(but that is for some other time). @Chandi69: flight is still an asset, I wish our current spinners can do it consistently Plus which great bowler has not been hit.

  • wolf777 on September 23, 2010, 13:39 GMT

    Reply to sweetspot:

    Refusing admission for not having proper identification - what is wrong with that? Rules are rules and should apply same to everybody. He was not singled out because he was an Indian; someone was just doing his job. The person should be applauded not accused of showing some racial bias. I feel that some time we Indians display 'a chip on the shoulder' attitude and consider security checks and id checks as insults. It was stupid of Gavasker, my favorite batsman, to refuse the MCC membership just because he was asked for identification.

  • Ramesh-IT on September 23, 2010, 13:36 GMT

    If Bedi's spin brought pride to the country, his mouth is consistent in bringing disgrace. The only thing he said right is thu Sehwag is a better spinner than Harbhajan.

  • on September 23, 2010, 13:36 GMT

    Bedi represents the bygone era of Indian cricket riddled with colonial hangover, losing attitude, infighting within team. His captaincy and bowling are both overrated. It is a joke that he is referred to as gracious when he doesnt have any compliments to pay whenever spoken to. He is a surly, pessimistic misanthrope, who is always ruing how he wasnt paid enough in his days or criticising bowlers who are far better than him. He serves Indian cricket best by remaining out of reach.

  • SumitSahai on September 23, 2010, 13:19 GMT

    Unfortunately, I was born too late to see the spin quartet in action, so I cannot comment on Bedi's bowling, even though the statistics are unconvincing. But in praising the man's character, the author turns a blind eye to far too many faults. Bedi is a loud know it all who likes the limelight - for many years he made a career out of bashing Sourav Ganguly on a cheap sensational Indian TV show, and he's been extraordinarily pig headed about Murali's bowling action. Never mind all the help he's given to Dennis Amiss and Iqbal Qasim, why couldn't Mr. Menon find an anecdote of him helping Kumble or Harbhajan or any other Indian spinner. Let alone help, Bedi keeps insulting Harbhajan, insinuating that Bhajji 'chucks'. So much for the brotherhood of spinners.

    All cricket lovers are allowed to choose their heroes, and all heroes are flawed, one way or another. But it irks when hero worship turns to blind worship. To give Mr.Menon the benefit of doubt, I'd blame his post-op medications.

  • since7 on September 23, 2010, 12:54 GMT

    @ braks21 I find your comment symptomatic of a typical indian fan being superficial.sorry for being harsh,but if being diplomatic,playing safe and being silent on important issues,toy toying to the establishment is called as "humility",I wish such humility doesnt exist.Bedi was an imperfect man,brash,blunt,maybe complex and biased but he was honest and daring when he took on the establishment which is something none of the so called humble cricketers ever care to do.As menon himself puts it out atleast slightly,we people get swayed by outward images and start branding people

  • Supratik on September 23, 2010, 12:12 GMT

    Mr.Menon..At most times I have liked your articles - here and elsewhere. This one is no different. He was poetry in motion as a bowler and a great one - in an era when it still was just a game and for the beauty of it. Today's generation won't understand it, where only results and stats matter. However it's a piece about the wrong man at the wrong time. Bedi is not just "black and white" as he tries to portray himself. There are shades of gray in him. Have you forgotten his public tirade against Gavaskar in the bygone years? This after naming his son "Gavasinder"! Then what about his accent which has definitely been a put on all this years. Then what about instigating viewers against certain players on TV through a cheap programme called "match ka mujrim". I appreciate that he is anti-chucking and the legitimacy of Murali's record will always remain, but this man has remained a paradox ever since the time he retired. As a spinner though, he was peerless!

  • RogerC on September 23, 2010, 12:10 GMT

    Mr. Suresh Menon is probably trying to compensate for not selecting Bedi in his all time Indian XI. Bedi was a great bowler, but he lost a lot of dignity for his dirty mouthing about Murali. True greats respect other greats.

  • sweetspot on September 23, 2010, 11:50 GMT

    This is the man who once berated Sunil Gavaskar for refusing membership to the MCC. Gavaskar was perfectly justified in doing so - he had been refused admission to a ground because he didn't have identification!! Gavaskar did not want to be insulted, and he had self respect and pride as an Indian. I would think Bedi did not get something he wanted, and remains badly dissatisfied about it. He is a grumpy old crust who can amuse us once in a while, but hardly an inspiring spirit. The best service he can do to Indian cricket is if he keeps quiet.

  • chandi69 on September 23, 2010, 10:34 GMT

    I too do not rate Bedi as a great bowler. He took a lot of wickets in India because of baised umpaires in India. If he was playing today, with his flight he would have been hit arond the park with ease. Chandra, Prasanna, Kumble are much better than him. His mouth is as ugly as his arm !! He is a real disgrace to the game of criclet. I have seen him being hammered around in the last 70's, by people like lloyed, richards, rowe, chappel brothers etc. If he was playing today people like sachin, lara, jayasuriya, inzi, aravinda would have taken him to the cleanners !! Sorry mate, Bedi is a useless bowler as well as a useless human. I do not know how this Mennon is so fond of this rotten human !!! Sorry mate, he is just useless !! Waiste of time even mentioning his name.

  • on September 23, 2010, 10:32 GMT

    I think Murali was bang on when he said had Bedi played in today's era he wouldn't have picked even 1 wicket...very apt. He has a mediocre record and has 1500 first class wickets because he played lots of county cricket. His test record is pretty ordinary and I think he is pretty arrogant and has no clue about what he says in public.

  • imdmaster on September 23, 2010, 9:50 GMT

    I was just thinking of all the controversial statements he has made in the past and could draw a conclusion that the guy says many things in the fit of the moment. Remember his controversy of 1992, then as coach of the Indian team he said on returning from an unsuccessful tour of Australia that "this Indian team should be dumped into the Indian Ocean". 18 years later just think of the names onboard that plane include the likes of Tendulkar, Kumble , Ganguly, Azhar, Srinath who all have had glorious carreers for their country. All you can say is ignore this guy's(BEDI) comments or take them as a joke.

  • Rake1 on September 23, 2010, 7:45 GMT

    Every time Bishan Singh Bedi, opens his mouth he is likely to say something crass. Very annoying to read his comments or listen to him.

  • bkraks21 on September 23, 2010, 7:19 GMT

    @TheOnlyEmperor - u r not the only one my friend. I dont rate Bedi very high as a human being. He needs to learn from SRT about being humble. With Greatnes come humilty and bedi has nothing we can call Humility.

  • Longmemory on September 23, 2010, 6:44 GMT

    Having grown up on Indian cricket of the 1970s, I can readily appreciate Menon's rhapsodizing about Bedi's lovely action and his frequent generosity about sharing his trade secrets. But I am afraid there were other sides to Bedi back then that were less than appealing. I am not sure he was always a great team-man and on the disastrous tour of England (the summer of 42 all out) he seemed a big part of the problem. As captain he was not the best when it came to his fellow bowlers and had a knack of bringing himself on when it looked as if some easy pickings were in sight. As I've watched his intemperate - and sometimes petty- attacks on players in recent years, its only confirmed what I've thought of him before. I think he's a pretty complicated guy - both generous and petty in equal measure. I guess my problem with Menon's piece is that its a bit too laudatory and not adequately critical of Bedi's obvious faults.

  • on September 23, 2010, 6:31 GMT

    I haven't seen Bedi playing his Cricket but am very well aware of the controversies surrounding him. I think he is got an insane attitude and keeps poking at the legends of the game. And his stats doesn't suggest too much of him being an exemplary spinner. I don't consider him to be an Indian great - he neither has the figures nor the attitude to be a great!

  • manasvi_lingam on September 23, 2010, 5:18 GMT

    Bedi was a fine left arm bowler but in his case, the stats don't lie. He had a strike rate of 80, in comparison to Prasanna (75) and Chandrasekhar (65). Even when one compares him with other Indian greats, the SR isn't impressive when compared with Gupte (75), Kumble (65) and Bhajji (67). Bedi kept out equally and even more talented left arm bowlers such as Rajinder Goel and Shivalkar.

  • TheOnlyEmperor on September 23, 2010, 4:36 GMT

    Bedi never impressed me with his bowling, captaincy or talk. Bedi believed in purchasing wickets and would invariably give a lot of runs away before taking a wicket. I have seen guys like Clive Lloyd mercilessly hit Bedi out of the stadium. His captaincy shamed me as a school boy watching the Karachi Test loss in the late 1970s when he allowed Pakistan to steal a near impossible win and then seem casual about it. For such a guy with a shockingly poor winning attitude, I have found his attitude of pulling down his colleagues and other greats, notably the likes of Sunil Gavaskar and Murali absolutely distasteful and his commentary on cricket on most occasions bereft of sense, but maybe that's just me. The fact that the author says he helped Dennis Amiss at the nets, a member of the opposition team doesn't speak of a competitive spirit and in fact to me highlights remnants of colonial hangover.

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  • TheOnlyEmperor on September 23, 2010, 4:36 GMT

    Bedi never impressed me with his bowling, captaincy or talk. Bedi believed in purchasing wickets and would invariably give a lot of runs away before taking a wicket. I have seen guys like Clive Lloyd mercilessly hit Bedi out of the stadium. His captaincy shamed me as a school boy watching the Karachi Test loss in the late 1970s when he allowed Pakistan to steal a near impossible win and then seem casual about it. For such a guy with a shockingly poor winning attitude, I have found his attitude of pulling down his colleagues and other greats, notably the likes of Sunil Gavaskar and Murali absolutely distasteful and his commentary on cricket on most occasions bereft of sense, but maybe that's just me. The fact that the author says he helped Dennis Amiss at the nets, a member of the opposition team doesn't speak of a competitive spirit and in fact to me highlights remnants of colonial hangover.

  • manasvi_lingam on September 23, 2010, 5:18 GMT

    Bedi was a fine left arm bowler but in his case, the stats don't lie. He had a strike rate of 80, in comparison to Prasanna (75) and Chandrasekhar (65). Even when one compares him with other Indian greats, the SR isn't impressive when compared with Gupte (75), Kumble (65) and Bhajji (67). Bedi kept out equally and even more talented left arm bowlers such as Rajinder Goel and Shivalkar.

  • on September 23, 2010, 6:31 GMT

    I haven't seen Bedi playing his Cricket but am very well aware of the controversies surrounding him. I think he is got an insane attitude and keeps poking at the legends of the game. And his stats doesn't suggest too much of him being an exemplary spinner. I don't consider him to be an Indian great - he neither has the figures nor the attitude to be a great!

  • Longmemory on September 23, 2010, 6:44 GMT

    Having grown up on Indian cricket of the 1970s, I can readily appreciate Menon's rhapsodizing about Bedi's lovely action and his frequent generosity about sharing his trade secrets. But I am afraid there were other sides to Bedi back then that were less than appealing. I am not sure he was always a great team-man and on the disastrous tour of England (the summer of 42 all out) he seemed a big part of the problem. As captain he was not the best when it came to his fellow bowlers and had a knack of bringing himself on when it looked as if some easy pickings were in sight. As I've watched his intemperate - and sometimes petty- attacks on players in recent years, its only confirmed what I've thought of him before. I think he's a pretty complicated guy - both generous and petty in equal measure. I guess my problem with Menon's piece is that its a bit too laudatory and not adequately critical of Bedi's obvious faults.

  • bkraks21 on September 23, 2010, 7:19 GMT

    @TheOnlyEmperor - u r not the only one my friend. I dont rate Bedi very high as a human being. He needs to learn from SRT about being humble. With Greatnes come humilty and bedi has nothing we can call Humility.

  • Rake1 on September 23, 2010, 7:45 GMT

    Every time Bishan Singh Bedi, opens his mouth he is likely to say something crass. Very annoying to read his comments or listen to him.

  • imdmaster on September 23, 2010, 9:50 GMT

    I was just thinking of all the controversial statements he has made in the past and could draw a conclusion that the guy says many things in the fit of the moment. Remember his controversy of 1992, then as coach of the Indian team he said on returning from an unsuccessful tour of Australia that "this Indian team should be dumped into the Indian Ocean". 18 years later just think of the names onboard that plane include the likes of Tendulkar, Kumble , Ganguly, Azhar, Srinath who all have had glorious carreers for their country. All you can say is ignore this guy's(BEDI) comments or take them as a joke.

  • on September 23, 2010, 10:32 GMT

    I think Murali was bang on when he said had Bedi played in today's era he wouldn't have picked even 1 wicket...very apt. He has a mediocre record and has 1500 first class wickets because he played lots of county cricket. His test record is pretty ordinary and I think he is pretty arrogant and has no clue about what he says in public.

  • chandi69 on September 23, 2010, 10:34 GMT

    I too do not rate Bedi as a great bowler. He took a lot of wickets in India because of baised umpaires in India. If he was playing today, with his flight he would have been hit arond the park with ease. Chandra, Prasanna, Kumble are much better than him. His mouth is as ugly as his arm !! He is a real disgrace to the game of criclet. I have seen him being hammered around in the last 70's, by people like lloyed, richards, rowe, chappel brothers etc. If he was playing today people like sachin, lara, jayasuriya, inzi, aravinda would have taken him to the cleanners !! Sorry mate, Bedi is a useless bowler as well as a useless human. I do not know how this Mennon is so fond of this rotten human !!! Sorry mate, he is just useless !! Waiste of time even mentioning his name.

  • sweetspot on September 23, 2010, 11:50 GMT

    This is the man who once berated Sunil Gavaskar for refusing membership to the MCC. Gavaskar was perfectly justified in doing so - he had been refused admission to a ground because he didn't have identification!! Gavaskar did not want to be insulted, and he had self respect and pride as an Indian. I would think Bedi did not get something he wanted, and remains badly dissatisfied about it. He is a grumpy old crust who can amuse us once in a while, but hardly an inspiring spirit. The best service he can do to Indian cricket is if he keeps quiet.